Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 780 October 19, 1941

Operation Typhoon. Evacuation of Moscow picks up pace with Germans taking Mozhaysk yesterday and the Mozhaysk line crumbling elsewhere. However, Stalin decides he will stay in Moscow. 68 miles away at Volokolamsk (the Northwest end of the Mozhaysk line), German 4th Panzer Army is held up by Soviet 316th Rifle Division (full-strength division recently arrived from Central Asia).

Off the coast of Morocco 35 miles Southwest of Tangier, U-204 sinks British tanker Inverlee carrying 13,880 tons of Admiralty fuel oil at 3 AM (22 dead and 21 survivors, the explosion is seen by ships 28 miles away) and U-206 sinks British SS Baron Kelvin at 6.14 AM (26 dead and 16 survivors). British corvettes are dispatched from Gibraltar to hunt the U-boats and HMS Mallow sinks U-204 at 9.46 PM with 7 depth charges.

After mistaking the neutral American steamer Lehigh for a Greek vessel 100 miles West of Freetown, Sierra Leone, U-126 sinks SS Lehigh at 10.51 AM (all 34 crew and 4 Spanish stowaways escape in 4 lifeboats).

Overnight, British gunboat HMS Gnat bombards a German artillery battery near Tobruk to protect ships in Operation Cultivate.

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